The setting of Poe’ s “ Raven” mirrors the state of physical and emotional isolation of the persona. The literary piece begins at the dead of night in December, which happens to be the last month of the year when one retraces their steps throughout the ending year; when the painful occurrences which were beyond the person in question return to haunt them. As such, December is a month of social and emotional isolation created by thoughts of loved ones who have been lost throughout the year. In addition, the narrator’ s lone sleeping chamber and his lack of company are also symbolic of loneliness and isolation.
The storyteller cuts the image of a weak and troubled man, who appears stuck in his own prison where there is no sign of life around, but his. He hopes morning will come and bring with it the beauty of light and social life, but in the meantime, he has to endure the pains of isolation, more so from his departed Lenore. The ensuing story built around isolation is simple, persistent and tragic. The poem splits the characters and themes into two opposing worlds of dead darkness of isolation; and hope of a reunion by daybreak.
The contrasting worlds of hope in light and despair in darkness substantially acquire extra symbolic meanings: they also symbolize life and decease, the narrator’ s vain expectation of an after-life reunion with Lenore and the tragic physical vision of deep nothingness in isolation. The “ Nightingale” embodies the rapture of literary inspiration in the music, which may have been advisedly included in the work to break the tone of the narrator’ s isolation with the bird in the thick forest.
Delighting music even motivates the narrator to welcome his death because he is overwhelmed by the negative impacts of isolation. The song claims the suffering may end in his afterlife. But when, following his meditation, he rediscovers himself and recognizes his real status by uttering the word "forlorn, " the narrator abandons his illusory escape from the unavoidable, and like the narrator in the Raven, he feels unable to chart his destiny in the current state of isolation.
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